The Outsourcing of Local News

Friday, July 06, 2012
Brian Timpone, CEO of Journatic
Sending American jobs overseas isn’t just for manufacturing and customer service businesses. Media companies too are figuring out ways to save money by using foreign cheap labor to report on news in the United States.
 
A pioneer of media outsourcing is Journatic, a company with 300 freelance writers, a third of whom are based in Asia, Europe and Africa. Journatic specializes in local news, offering newspapers a less expensive alternative to having staff reporters handle obituaries, real estate notices and community news.
 
Journatic currently employs about 100 writers based in the Philippines, Eastern Europe, Russia, Brazil and Africa. Filipinos working for the company earn 35 to 40 cents a story.
 
The company has deals with Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle, among other newspapers. Journatic plans to expand its work for dailies and eventually produce 100,000 stories a week.
 
Ryan Smith, an American freelancer who worked for Journatic, said he came to question what the company was doing to the U.S. news business.
 
“People didn’t think much about the beef they were eating until someone exposed the practice of putting so-called ‘pink slime’ into ground beef,” Smith wrote in an email to Poynter. “Once it came out, the food industry moved quickly to change it. I feel like companies like Journatic are providing the public ‘pink slime’ journalism.”
 
Newspapers using Jouratic’s content were also caught using fake bylines with names that sounded more American than those of the people who were actually doing the writing.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
To Learn More:
Act Two. Forgive Us Our Press Passes. (by Sarah Koenig, This American Life)
Tribune Company Does Deal with Journatic (by Michael Miner, Chicago Reader)

Comments

nobodyhere 7 years ago
what people need to realize is that brian timpone is the epitome of a sociopath. i have had many dealings with him - and he has the charisma/charm of a sociopath but absolutely no morals or ethics whatsoever. he's a classic case - and he's the son of a disbarred il attorney leonard t timpone (look it up - the behavior that led to his disbarment is unbelievable - he invades everyone else's privacy so there's some info on him! besides, it's 100% public.). so, the apple does not fall far from the tree (genetically and behaviorally). he is a disgrace to journalism with these outsourced content mills - and what he started with blockshopper was never ever journalism. it was just done with an intent to get ad revenue from people's nosy behaviors. if i google you and your home price comes up, naturally i will probably click that. that's it. timpone claims it helps people figure out if they are being "over taxed" but most of blockshopper's tax info is wrong and all of that data can be found at the assessor's office. no lawyer uses blockshopper when making property tax appeals. blockshopper does not help anything related to taxes. it just makes money by exploiting people's personal property transactions by making sure they come up in a google search. and, they write often inaccurate stories about the people who do buy homes. if you don't believe me, there are over 200 complaints all over the web about blockshopper from people who have asked timpone to remove their names / addresses that result in a simple google search (healthcare practitioners in mental health, police offers, stalker victims, you name it) and timpone does nothing. you can see many complaints on the consumer affairs website, but timpone doesn't care. he just wants the $1 in google click advertising revenue for each "news story" that he lists. when google serves up blockshopper content like "it manager buys house for 1 million" when you just type in the name of the it manager - this can be a huge problem for said manager if he doesn't want the world to know about his assets or has any other reason to keep his purchases private - but does timpone care? no. he will not take a listing down for any reason. the fact that he convinced major media companies to work with him is shocking and insane to me - but charismatic sociopaths can do anything, so i guess i should not be too shocked. i've dealt with him personally and i know that personality extremely well and he is out of a textbook. the people who contracted his work are just hitting the tip of the iceberg of what he is - but they are going to have to learn the hard way. i recommend they read the book snakes in suits to see what they are dealing with.

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